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The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayoral challenger Willie Wilson bought himself instant credibility - and TV time to introduce himself to Chicago voters - by lending his campaign $1 million of his own money," Fran Spielman writes for the Sun-Times.

Credibility with who? Oh, right, the media.

See, a rich person is instantly credible no matter how wacky, uninformed, inexperienced or unknown.

A person of ordinary wealth with a world of experience, knowledge and ideas is not instantly credible, and will, in fact, find it hard to become credible because, without a bushelful of money, the media won't be interested.

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I'm not dismissing the fact that Wilson's money has bought him some support among African Americans. I don't see how that makes him credible, though. I doubt he knows how many members the city council has. He's an embarrassment beyond words, but few want to just come out and say it. I will.

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"Now, he's doubling down on that investment," Spielman writes. "Wilson has added $665,000 more to that initial investment in himself, $280,000 of it in the last week - and there's even more where that came from.

"The millionaire businessman said Wednesday he's prepared to dig even deeper into his personal fortune to avoid being beholden to special interests.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel raked in nearly $800,000 in the last week alone, padding his huge fundraising advantage.

The people who gave the mayor $30 million - he's beholden to them. I'm running for the people. If I take money from unions and major corporations, I'm gonna owe them. I don't want to do that," Wilson said.

I find this kind of reasoning curious. Basically, Wilson is telling us he's the kind of person who would feel beholden to anyone who contributed to his campaign. That's not really a man of courage.

He's also saying, basically, though I'm sure he hasn't thought about it, that only independently wealthy folk should run for office.

I also wonder if this means he would reject, say, union money, if he got into a runoff with Rahm Emanuel.

Oh lord, this is way too much thinking about Willie Wilson. Except it's too bad he didn't possess enough self-awareness and sophistication to back someone else's campaign.

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Then again, I suspect Wilson is in the race because folks like Ricky Hendon found a pigeon.

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I haven't had a chance yet this morning to absorb the new Tribune poll, so I can't comment on it just yet, but if it's accurate, Bob Fioretti has to be immensely frustrated.

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This idea of not taking special interest money . . . well, it seemed principled when Glenn Poshard refused to while running for governor, but I'm more of the mind that I would take money from anyone who gave it to me, while clearly publicly stating that I wouldn't be afraid to stick it to any contributor. In other words, yes, I'll take your money - glad to have it - but you aren't buying my favor.

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"[T]he paycheck they give me [as mayor] I'm gonna give away to the churches," Wilson told Spielman.

Wilson has already promised not to take a salary should he become mayor, so he's either reneging on that promise already or a whole lotta churches gonna get a whole lotta nothin'.

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"During a debate this week before the Chicago Tribune's editorial board, Wilson asked Emanuel if he would like to apologize for the petition challenge that Wilson's attorney has branded 'racist and discriminatory,' akin to the poll tax in the Deep South.

Emanuel ignored the request.

"Well, Willie, we all meet a standard. You could have challenged me. That said, I dropped it. That's why you're a candidate. That's why you're also here," the mayor said.

Could Rahm have been more patronizing and condescending in that remark? It's almost as if he was saying to Wilson, "Apologize? You should thank me for letting you be here!"

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It's not the petition challenge that gives rise to Wilson's grievance, it's that Rahm's campaign said Wilson's petition signatures were 80 percent fraudulent.

Rahm's election lawyer, by the way, is also the lawyer for the Illinois Democratic Party. Conflict much?

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If Wilson's signatures are mostly fraudulent, Rahm's campaign is now abetting the fraud, right?

Still unanswered is the question of why Rahm dropped the challenge - though the kind of attention Wilson is getting at the expense of credible challengers is an obvious explanation, as well as not wanting to (further) alienate black voters.

Maybe the election board ought to independently verify candidate signatures to eliminate these kind of cynical calculations - and to ensure the integrity of the process.

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Wealthy candidates basically get a two-fer: The attention they can buy in advertising, mailers, yard signs and so on, and the attention they get from the media for being wealthy. And then when they buy advertising, mailers and so on, they get additional attention for that. In other words, the inherent advantage of wealthy candidates is multiplied by the way the media treats them.

That doesn't mean they are automatic winners; some fail miserably. But it does distort coverage of a given campaign.

The Shame Of Illinois
Poorer than we ought to be.

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Democrats emphatically oppose a flat tax nationally, but support Illinois' flat tax. And that's a big part of what's killing us, structurally.

Corrupt Illinois
"Gradel and Simpson describe the history of political corruption in the Prairie State from vote rigging in 1833, when Chicago was first incorporated, and trace the dishonorable tradition through the criminal convictions of four of the last nine Illinois governors, a $53 million embezzlement by a downstate official, and the blizzard of bribery, extortion, tax fraud and other crimes that have led to the conviction of 33 Chicago aldermen."

In Local Book Notes.

Also featured: A South Side Bard & J. Ivy's Cycle Of Pain.

Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy Part 2
He did, in fact, think about race.

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 8
"Received fresh, labeled with the patient's name and designated on the requisition as 'products of conception,' is a 13.0 gram specimen consisting of a 5.0 x 3.5 x 0.8 cm aggregate of pink-tan spongy membranous tissue admixed with blood clot. No fetal parts are grossly identified."

The Only 8 Types Of TV Shows That Get Made
Example: Strong male anti-heroes on a journey of redemption.

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BeachBook
* Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads.

* Gains From Economic Recovery Still Limited To Top 1 Percent.

* Phil Jackson Denies Illegally Inflating Balls While Playing For The Knicks.

* Pabst Brewing Could Come Home.

* Erwin S. Korzen, Who Owned One Of Nation's Largest Bowling Alleys.

* Theologians Cast Doubt On Morality Of Drone Strikes.

Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, called Obama's reasoning "bogus."

* Lisa Marie Varon No Longer Running Squared Circle.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Incredible.



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Posted on January 29, 2015


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - 24 Hours With Velocity.
POLITICS - Obscene Healthcare CEOs.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Lazy Hazy Crazy Dog Days.

BOOKS - The Origins Of Environmental Bullshit.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Daisies.


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